What Does "ABS" Stand for in Plastic Pipe?

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ABS pipes are used for household waste water removal.
ABS pipes are used for household waste water removal. (Image: coiled plastic tubing image by Jeffrey Zalesny from Fotolia.com)

ABS stands for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, a plastic compound used in several household appliances and everyday products. It is resistant to blunt force damage and remains semi-flexible at room temperature.

Function

Most ABS pipes are found in household drain systems, under sinks and bathtub fixtures. These pipes function properly as long as they are not blocked by tree roots or exposed to sunlight. Ultraviolet rays slowly break down the plastic and cause weak points in the pipe.

Properties

ABS is resistant to ammonium chloride solutions, calcium chloride and sodium hydroxide, which are the major corrosives that cause metal pipes to fail. It also isn’t affected by water, aqueous salt solutions, mineral acids and alkalis. ABS pipe does not crack, bend or break under heavy loads such as soil and cement slab, even when exposed to extreme temperatures. It performs well over a wide range of temperatures, from minus 40 F to 180 F, and has a relatively high flash point of 221 F.

Other Uses

ABS plastics can be found in LEGO building bricks, computer mouses, vacuum jugs, suitcases, laundry baskets, handles for brooms and mops, recorders, clarinets, golf club heads, canoes and, in some cases, tattoo inks.

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